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Potassium channels in brain mitochondria

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Potassium channels are the most widely distributed class of ion channels. These channels are transmembrane proteins known to play important roles in both normal and pathophysiological functions in all cell types. Various potassium channels are recognised as potential therapeutic targets in the treatment of Parkinson's disease, Alzheimer's disease, brain/spinal cord ischaemia and sepsis. In addition to their importance as therapeutic targets, certain potassium channels are known for their beneficial roles in anaesthesia, cardioprotection and neuroprotection. Some types of potassium channels present in the plasma membrane of various cells have been found in the inner mitochondrial membrane as well. Potassium channels have been proposed to regulate mitochondrial membrane potential, respiration, matrix volume and Ca+ ion homeostasis. It has been proposed that mitochondrial potassium channels mediate ischaemic preconditioning in various tissues. However, the specificity of a pharmacological agents and the mechanisms underlying their effects on ischaemic preconditioning remain controversial. The following potassium channels from various tissues have been identified in the inner mitochondrial membrane: ATP-regulated (mitoKATP) channel, large conductance Ca2+-regulated (mitoBKCa) channel, intermediate conductance Ca2+-regulated (mitoIKCa) channel, voltage-gated (mitoKv1.3 type) channel, and twin-pore domain (mitoTASK-3) channel. It has been shown that increased potassium flux into brain mitochondria induced by either the mitoKATP channel or mitoBKCa channel affects the beneficial effects on neuronal cell survival under pathological conditions. Recently, differential distribution of mitoBKCa channels has been observed in neuronal mitochondria. These findings may suggest a neuroprotective role for the mitoBKCa channel in specific brain structures. This minireview summarises current data on brain mitochondrial potassium channels and the efforts to identify their molecular correlates.
Physical description
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